“The 16-minute film falls neatly into two nearly equal parts, separated by fades to and from black.
Part one depicts a sunrise, a journey out to sea in a boat, then gulls flying around the boat while fish are cleaned, and finally the journey back and the reappearance of land. This is, narratively, a reasonably clear presentation of a fishing voyage; the only strange thing, informationally, is the absence of human beings (except for the hands seen cleaning fish). In part two the setting changes from sea and coastline to a mountain forest traversed by railroad tracks. Workmen are seen repairing the tracks, after which a train passes through the forest while a nude woman stands nearby. The woman washes herself in a stream as insects move on ground and water. Then the workmen are again seen repairing the tracks; a train appears and a man’s hand pulls the woman away from the camera as the train continues through the forest, illuminated by a setting sun.
The two parts function as one larger unit by similar patterns of development and by a strong sense of temporal progression. Part one begins at sunrise and seems to end during the afternoon. The second part begins at some time in the morning and ends with a sunset. Whether we are to take the film as occurring during a single day or during two days seems beside the point; the work has an almost mythic sense of time. As the beginning of part one and the end of part two are connected by the presence of the sun, the end of the first part and the beginning of the second are connected by the presence of mist (subtly underlined by the foghorn on the sound track during the darkness which separates the two units).
Both parts exhibit a circular (symmetrical) construction which also contributes to the mythic – ritualistic – aspects of the work. […]" —Alan Williams, Film Quarterly
Bruce Baillie (born in 1931, Aberdeen, South Dakota) is an American experimental filmmaker and founding member of Canyon Cinema in San Francisco. His film Castro Street (1966) was selected in 1992 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. —Wikipedia
This year the Ann Arbor Film Festival celebrated its 50th anniversary, both by taking stock of its distinguished history and looking ahead.